Korean-American Kenneth Bae made headlines back in November when he was arrested while leading a tour group though the Rason Special Economic Zone in North Korea. The reasons behind the arrest have never been properly confirmed, but it seems that his detainment had something to do with photos he was taking while he was spending time in the country.
No headway has been made in the case since he was taken into custody, but a recent report by the Korean Central News Agency claims that Bae has “admitted that he committed crimes aimed to topple the DPRK,” and that he will now be tried in North Korean supreme court for those crimes, the maximum punishment for which is the death penalty. Read more…
Former Olympus president Tsuyoshi Kikukawa may soon spend up to five years of his life in prison for his role in Olympus’ massive financial scandal that rocked corporate Japan back in 2011. Prosecutors allege that Kikukawa orchestrated a coverup of $1.7 billion in company losses, one of the biggest frauds in Japanese history and the country’s equivalent of America’s Enron scandal.
Prison visiting rooms are often home to large-scale paintings that are enjoyed by only a few. Often created by the inmates themselves, the artworks serve as the photographic backdrops of a portrait studio as inmates pose in front of them for pictures that are given to loved ones as mementos.
Since these intricate drawings are generally only seen by inmates, visitors, and employees, photographer Alyse Emdur decided that she wanted to document them for a wider audience. She spent years creating a project titled Prison Landscapes, featuring photos of these idealized backdrops that, for a moment, transport the inmates to faraway places.
Prison is no cake walk — and rightfully so. Inmates of maximum security prisons have often done terrible things, things that in some states are still punishable by death. But is there a fate worse than death? Read more…
Regardless of how bad photographers’ rights seem to be in your country, here’s a story that will definitely make you appreciate them at least a little bit more: a photojournalist named Sithu Zeya may spend 18 years of his life in prison after being arrested for photography. Zeya, who’s only 21 years old, was arrested in Burma last year after getting caught photographing the aftermath of a grenade attack that killed 10 people in the country’s largest city, Yangon. After being sentenced to 8 years in prison last year, a Yangon court decided to tack an extra 10 years onto his prison sentence yesterday for posting online material that could “damage tranquillity and unity in the government.”
Suddenly those stories you hear of photographers getting harassed by police don’t seem nearly as bad, eh?
(via AP via PDN Pulse)
Photographer Cosmin Bumbut was given the opportunity lead a photo workshop in one of the least likely places — in a women’s penitentiary in Romania. Bumbat furnished 14 women with six Canon PowerShots plus cards and batteries, and taught them basic photography. The photo workshop began meeting weekly, and within two months, the class had produced some 14,000 images.
The participants achieved what so many professional photographers strive to do: they wove together a very compelling visual story that also has a back story that is just as raw and captivating.
Bumbut has a small batch of additional photos on Punctum (be aware, there is some nudity in a few photos). The photos portray a very intimate portrait of the women and their daily lives from a refreshingly straightforward and honest perspective.